Sunday, January 16, 2005Offseason Adjustments: St. Louis
I'll start with St. Louis since I have no personal stake in them.
The 47-17 beatdown the Rams suffered shouldn't have come as a big surprise. The Rams are as good as their .500 record. In a normal NFC year they wouldn't have been a factor, much less a Divisional finalist. So it's obvious the Rams can get better in several places.
-- Depth and Toughness: It wouldn't kill the Rams to draft nothing but offensive and defensive lineman in April. They are extremely thin at both positions and they lack toughness. Guys like Tyoka Jackson and Ryan Pickett, who are strong backup linemae, are playing about 15-20 plays too many. Damione Lewis never really panned out at defensive tackle and Grant Wistrom took the big money in Seattle so the opportunity to rebuild a line is there. I would draft one of USC's tackles in the first round (Shaun Cody or Mike Patterson), either will be a nice piece in the center to build around. The Rams can add offensive lineman like Michael Munoz (Tennessee) or Wesley Britt (Alabama) on the first day.
-- New defensive coordinator: I understand it was Larry Marmie's first year with the organization but he stunk with the Cardinals too. There's no excuse for giving up 320+ yards rushing. This is the National Football League, not the Big XII. Marmie's defenses are soft, confusing and the players in the system aren't worked hard enough. There are a few good, young prospects out there like DeWayne Walker and Eric Mangini that could step in and do as good a job as Lovie Smith did.
-- Dump the Marshall Plan: It's time for Marshall Faulk to move on and give way to Stephen Jackson. I don't think there's a trade market for Faulk like the Jets might find for Curtis Martin, but there's no doubt that Jackson is ready and he's got the burst of speed that Faulk no longer possesses.
Obviously St. Louis will always be crippled as long as Martz is the coach. He'll get stubborn, he'll always have terrible clock management skills and he'll always want to be the center of attention. However, the Rams have made a Super Bowl in spite of him before, they have the talent on offense to do it again.